Writing

Decisions, Decisions

December 8, 2017

As a writer, I critique everything I read no matter who the author is. It could be an article in today’s news, a blog, a bit of simple information on any topic, etc. While many Internet authors are quite good, and I learn alot there are as many who are not. I am a silent editor for these people waiting in the wings to attack. I can’t abide bad grammar, poor sentence structure, misuse of words, and the like. Non-native speakers should not be penning stories unless they know English perfectly. I hope that I am good enough that no one feels the same way about me, but then, I am a native speaker. We all make mistakes, but I go over my material again and again to make sure it is flawless.

I wish I could say the same for some of the product reviewers on the Web. You search for something – like the best handheld back massager – when looking for a gift for a friend. You pull up the best sites with the most inventory and the best prices. You start reading…and then you choke. Here is an example of a poorly-written review that I found and what I thought was wrong:

Handheld Massagers: best selection, best prices (so far so good)

Product name: xxxxx

The xxx Pro Massager With Heat offers an invigoration massage for the tired worn body. The rubberized comfort handle entails easy gripping alongside a front grip for an easy, guidable action. Features like three different sets of massage points as well as a variable speed control of three different speeds this handheld massager allows the user to customize your experience with ease. There is an optional heat setting that allows for easy relaxation. (how many times does he have to say “ease?”)

So far not so good. Boring and repetitive and no idea how to use commas!

  • Dual head percussion penetrates tight muscles for ultimate comfort and soothing
  • Variable speed control, 3 speed settings allow you to enjoy a gentle and soothing or an intense massage
  • Soothing heat for added relaxation
  • 3 Sets of massage nodes offer pleasant customization of your soothing massage experience
  • Front grip makes it easy to guide the soothing action
  • Rubberized comfort handle for easy grip

This writer likes the word “soothing.” You get the picture. Why not look in a thesaurus for alternatives?  comforting, calming, alleviating, relieving, tranquilizing, palliative….

At least the reviewer knows to include benefits that describe why a certain feature is important. He or she is just not an experienced writer of product descriptions. You want to encourage people to buy and this is an art. The description must be short and factual, but loaded with reasons why you need this item—right now! I won’t reveal the customer reviews because these people aren’t expected to write perfect English. We just want to know if the bloody thing works well and the benefits are true.